Greenpeace's icebreaker the Arctic Sunrise has finally left Russia after being held by authorities for 10 months in connection with an environmental protest that saw dozens of activists from around the world arrested in Russia and charged with piracy.
On Friday, the ship set sail from a port in Murmansk where the Investigative Committee had ordered it be held after the protest last September. The committee released the Arctic Sunrise in early June, but it was missing navigation equipment and required maintenance work before it could depart.
It left early Friday after undergoing a final inspection by customs authorities, according to a statement on Greenpeace's website.
Thirty people on board the Arctic Sunrise were detained by Russian border guards in September after some of the activists attempted to scale Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil rig as part of a protest against the company drilling in the Arctic.
The incident prompted an international outcry, with many Western leaders denouncing Russia's decision to charge all 30 crew members — many of whom were foreign — with piracy and hooliganism.
The "Arctic 30" were allowed to leave Russia under a presidential amnesty in December after spending two months in detention, but they were never acquitted.
In November, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to release the Arctic Sunrise, which sails under a Dutch flag, but Russia said at the time that it rejected the authority of the tribunal and the icebreaker remained in Russian custody.